Steve Raye | USA wine industry specialist. Raye spent the first part of his career in PR and advertising. He developed an interest in wine, taking a couple of courses at a local university. Recently he has been in marketing spirits and wines, with a focus on helping brands enter and succeed in the US market. He founded his own marketing company, Bevology Inc., which aims to act as a guide to wine and spirits producers wanting to break into the US market.

The US market | According to Steve Raye the millennials (77 million) are defined as the generation born between 1982 and 1986. They all came of drinking age in 2017, and this in an era of new and disruptive technology (smartphones, e-readers, social media). This allowed millennials to get their information from online sources like Vivino (which had been downloaded 20 million times to 2018, compared to The Wine Spectator whose circulation is estimated at 380,000, with Wine Enthusiast at 253,000 or so) and social networks via their peers (whom they trust), not necessarily via experts in magazines or celebrity critics, or review services that charge a fee. The predecessors of the millennials, a generation or two earlier, were the baby boomers (around 70 million).

The millennials favour reach and the fact that online provides an evolving dialogue rather than a one-way static resource. And, Raye points out, what is often overlooked is how every age group–Boomer, Gen X and even the ageing so-called Greatest Generation–not just the millennials, are participating in these tools.

Story v Narrative | Raye says that in today’s hyper-connected world, brands are no longer feature-based USPs or positional statements. It is now more about how brands connect in meaningful and motivational ways through their story. The story is a sequence of events, with a beginning, middle, and an end, says Raye, whereas the narrative tells those events in a way that creates a dramatic effect and response. Great narratives are usually open-ended and invite the reader to become engaged, participate, and personalize an idea. Discovery, authenticity, heritage, legacy, sharing and emotional connection are concepts that resonate with the millennial generation.


Steve Raye, How to get U.S. Market-Ready (Positive Press, 2018).